Ben la Grange quits Steinhoff Africa Retail

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Cape Town - Former Steinhoff CFO Ben la Grange on Thursday resigned as non-executive director of Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) [JSE:SRR].

In a notice issued to shareholders on Thursday, la Grange’s resignation came into effect on Wednesday January 24.

STAR, which was established following a decision to separate Steinhoff’s emerging and developed market retail businesses, listed on the JSE in September 2017 at an opening price of at R21.75. On Thurday, the shares were trading steady at R21.50.

The group, which describes itself as a retailer servicing the value-conscious consumer in sub-Saharan Africa, owns retail brands Pep, Ackermans, Tekki Town, Hifi Corporation, BUCO and Russels among others. The STAR Group operates across various cash generative sectors, including apparel, footwear, household goods, furniture, appliances, consumer electronics and building materials, whilst also providing financial and mobile services.

La Grange resigned as chief executive officer of STAR in December, after an accounting scandal rocked parent company Steinhoff Holdings, wiping off more than 80% of its shareholder value.

At the time, the board of STAR had requested that La Grange remain as non-executive director, and the COO Leon Lourens was appointed CEO. La Grange earned R50.1m at STAR during 2017, compared with R38.7m in 2016, according to STAR’s annual report released last year.

Bloomberg reported that La Grange, who was also formerly part of Steinhoff as CFO, would still work on completing the 2017 financial statements, which have not yet been released as the accounting irregularities are still being investigated.

Louis Du Preez, a commercial director and member of the management board at Steinhoff has been appointed a non-executive director of STAR’s board. Du Preez, a lawyer by profession, first joined Steinhoff as legal counsel in mid-2017, the notice read. 

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